Five boats were launched, plus the safety boat, Kurt Berger, and, at James’ suggestion, Course B was selected rather than A for a 15.15 scheduled start. Unfortunately, due to some engine trouble with the Safety Boat there was a short postponement of six minutes while attempts were made to get it running (It was later discovered that the fuel pipe had been mis-connected). An existing buoy and wooden pile were used as marks, as Sam and Catherine were no longer able to lay the club buoys.
Two Enterprises (Zephyr and Porpoise), a Leader (Distant Thunder) and a Mirror (Spinosaurus) got off to a close start on the opposite bank, initially close-hauled then running by the time they reached the mark downstream. Frank, in his Solo Tango, found it a struggle to make way against the flooding tide mid-stream and retired at 3.35pm, joining Kurt Berger at the ramp.
James and Tamina in Zephyr pulled ahead of Lev, sailing single-handed in Porpoise, gaining about 2 minutes on him per lap. Chris and Felicia in the Leader Distant Thunder were just half a minute behind after one lap. Ollie and Billy in Spinosaurus were precisely four minutes behind Distant Thunder after the first lap and persevered against the tide even when making no headway at times.
Places did not change again, even after James had to take evasive action on his way to the second “leeward” mark, to avoid a collision with a pair of eights speeding close by to their own neck-and -neck finish under the railway bridge.
James and Tamina finished the race after three laps at 49mins,47secs, Lev six minutes behind at 55:53. Chis and Felicia came in third at 58:18. Spinosaurus took 24 minutes for lap one, 23 and a half for the second lap and just 19 minutes for the third and final lap, a few puffs of breeze filling in helping them on handicap. Spinosaurus finished 1 hour, 6 minutes and 37 seconds after the start, just before 4.30pm.
Nick Jeffery (OOD)
Next week’s race will be held on the Bank Holiday Monday (29th May). It will be a D-Course (Hammersmith and back) starting at 16:00.
The reason is that our bit of the river will be occupied on Sunday by dozens of eights storming downstream in a United Hospitals Bumps Race.